1. IMPACT OF CYCLONE AND ASSISTANCE
The past few weeks have been extraordinarily taxing on NZPFU members responding to relentless emergency calls and challenging events at home including loss of homes, personal belongings, massive clean-ups and the tragic loss of family members, friends and colleagues.
Those working at the peak times of the natural disasters are exhausted and were in, or privy to, repeated life and death situations in a short space of time. Many did so not knowing how their families were coping or what was happening to their homes.
We ask that everyone is cognisant of the level of exhaustion and anxiety and that for many there is no easy road ahead. While the devastation left in the wake of the cyclone may soon disappear from the news, the events and the consequences will be affecting our members for some time to come. Some will be facing very uncertain economic futures and may not have a liveable place they can call home for months if not years. Please be patient and aware and adapt your conversations and interactions accordingly.
No one needs to battle alone. If anyone needs support please contact either your Local or the National office for assistance. We can advocate for appropriate support as necessary and your personal information will be kept confidential.
We can also assist with claims for financial assistance or you can apply directly:
- Work and Income administer civil defence payments to assist with food, bedding, clothing and temporary accommodation. You do not need to be on a benefit or unemployed to qualify. Information and the application form can be accessed via https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/civil-defence-payment.html
- Work and Income may also be able to help with medical costs and replacing appliances. Go to https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/eligibility/emergencies/cyclone-gabrielle.html
- For those that have farms affected by the events there is a Rural Assistance Payment. Go to https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/eligibility/emergencies/rural-help.html for the information.
- Claims processes and forms to apply for assistance from the FENZ-funded benevolent fund. This fund is to support career and volunteer firefighters and personnel and is administered by the UFBA. The relevant forms and information can be accessed via https://www.ufba.org.nz/need-help/benevolent-fund
- The New Zealand Firefighters’ Welfare Society also has a disaster fund for Society members and will consider applications from non-members on a case by case basis. The relevant information and forms can be accessed via https://firefighters.org.nz/membership-support/welfare-support/
2. PAY INCREASES
- The pay increases will be paid in the 8 March 2023 pay run. You will be paid the rate that applies as of 1 July 2022 (which includes the increases that applied from 1 July 2021 on a cumulative basis). Allowances will also increase on the cumulative basis of 11% applicable from 1 July 2021 and 5% from 1 July 2022.
- Please see attached the Part 3 and Part 4 (communication centre and black watch members) and Part 5 tables of new rates (firefighters) and the March increase will be at the rates effective 1 July 2022.
- The final pay increase of 5% will be payable as of 1 July 2023 and will be paid in the pay run after that date.
- Backpay will then be calculated to 1 July 2021 and is targeted to be paid at the end of April/beginning of May. We will notify members of the pay run date when it is confirmed.
3. UNION FEE INCREASE
- The NZPFU union fees will increase to $28.31 (GST inclusive) a fortnight from 8 March 2023.
- The 2015 NZPFU Conference determined that the union membership fees are calculated to 0.75% of a Senior Firefighters Grade 1 with 10 years’ experience plus GST. Currently the 1 July 2020 rate applies.
- Members will receive the 1 July 2022 (which includes the 1 July 2021 rate increase) wage increases from 8 March 2023 and another 5% increase from 1 July 2023.
- The National Committee met last week and determined that the Union would not seek any backdating in union fees but would apply the 1 July 2023 increase from the 8 March 2022 pay run. This will prevent the administration of two union fee increases in a short period of time. The 1 July 2023 increases correspond to a $1.36 a fortnight increase which is included in the $28.31 fortnightly union fees.
4. INCOME PROTECTION INSURANCE
Work is continuing on income protection insurance. The NZPFU has been approached by insurers to provide quotes but the recent natural disasters have impacted on insurers ability to do so. The NZPFU has two options currently under consideration and if other quotes cannot be provided shortly the National Committee will make a decision on the best policy available.
5. STAFFING, APPLIANCES AND EQUIPMENT WORKING PARTIES
The terms of reference for the working parties are almost agreed and Graeme Colgan has agreed to act as the Working Party Coordinator. The TOR include the scope and monthly meeting schedule with reports and recommendations due no later than March 2024. These working parties do no prevent the procurement of fire appliances and increased recruitment this year. The working parties are developing a plan for the determination of staffing ratios and needs and the appropriate level and type of appliances to be procured and maintained.